Thursday, 30 August 2012


 Our people here in Nigeria consume more sugar these days than before. All these “soft drinks and snacks” all over the place have contributed to a large extent. But we are not forced to take them. We choose to take them. We all know the health risks of that-obesity and diabetes, but did you know that too much sugar consumption can cause wrinkles? A dermatology study published in Britain found that a process called glycation causes sugar to attach to the proteins in collagen and elastin and thus make the skin look older especially after age 35. That makes it as much a culprit in causing wrinkles as smoking and too much sun exposure.

Women should not eat more than 25 grams or approximately 6-7 teaspoons of sugar a day. One way to cut down on sugar is to avoid processed food. Another is to check the sugar amount in fruit juices, many juices have more sugar than a piece of whole fruit. A helpful habit is to drink a glass of water (or seltzer) if you are craving sweets. If that doesn't help, have a small piece of dark chocolate or a few berries. And, If that doesn't help, think of the day someone learns you are 75 and says, "I would have guessed your age as much younger."


Nutritionists tells us that advanced glycation end products (AGEs) form when sugar and fats react with a protein that causes a structure to change irreversibly, and attach to many things in the body which in turn causes damage. As mentioned above, we can create these AGEs when we eat sugar. We can consume AGEs when we eat foods that are processed and/or heated. We need to avoid AGEs because they can increase inflammation and oxidation which in turn causes aging and age-related diseases affecting the heart, brain, bones, kidneys, anemia and the skin. Michelle Davenport is a research nutritionist, , of the New York School of Medicine, New York. Cooking methods, such as browning, grilling, roasting, broiling and frying create AGEs. Other culprits are highly processed foods and high fat dairy products such as cheese. To reduce AGEs, marinate food in an acid (lemon juice or vinegar) before cooking. Eating a variety of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory foods help reduce the oxidation and inflammation that AGEs cause.. Adding berries, sweet potatoes and leafy greens to our diet helps reduce the AGEs effect.


We need good, healthy, fatty acids like omega-3 to help keep skin supple, boost brain health, keep the heart strong and fight diabetes. The research to isolate the omega-3 is very new so in the meantime, nutritional literature recommends we eat a variety of whole foods, rich in vitamins B,C,D, E and omega-3s The literature says to avoid vegetable oils rich in omega-6 (corn, soy, sunflower, safflower) and limit the fats found in butter and cheese. We should consume more extra virgin olive oil, olives, avocados, almonds and fatty fish. We need 21/2 teaspoons of omega fatty acids a day which we can get from a purified fish oil supplement or a tablespoon of cod liver oil. Take either with food for better consumption.

No one has said aging well is easy. But forming good healthy eating habits when younger and maintaining them as you age, will enable you to look and feel younger as you enter those "golden years."

    Continuous effort is the key to unlocking our potential—Black,elk,native American

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